Online short-term rentals

Tuesday, October 3 2017

Out of thirty listings on AirBnB this past weekend, 10 were for ‘rooms for rent’ The others were for entire homes.

According to Islands Trust staff, there are only two permits currently issued within the Gabriola Local Trust Area (Gabriola, Mudge, Decourcy) allowing owners to rent their homes for short-term-vacation-rentals.

If the assumption is made that the two legal STVRs were on that list, that still leaves 18 properties which are being illegally listed for short-term rent.

18 potential long-term rentals which are not out there for residents of Gabriola to live in.

The way AirBnB and other web sites work, there’s not even a way to know if the owner is listing, or if a tenant is doing short-term sub-lets to subsidize the rent. (Pay $1,200 a month in rent, but then sub-rent it out for six nights at $200 a night, and rent is paid.)

And unless a landlord keeps a sharp eye on things, they are probably none-the-wiser - that is until the repair bills come in.

The LTC is taking a slow tact on dealing with short-term-vacation-rentals. 

Being as the Trustees have other projects they want completed before the term is up next October, one can hardly blame them. 

The solution put in place many years ago  (before AirBnB took off) by the then-Trustees still works today. 

If someone wants to run a STVR - apply for a permit. Make it legal. Get the neighbours on board. Don’t make the neighbours angry with tenants. Repeat the process.

The problem now though, is how the STVRs are so easy to run, for a much higher profit than long-term rentals, that Gabriola is seeing the impact on the housing stock.

That $700 to $800 per month rental becomes a ‘cute and cozy hideway in paradise’ for $138 a night on AirBnB.

Consider, before listing as an STVR, whether that is profit that is needed, or if the home could be better suited for a person or family who need a home to continue working here on the island.